The First Lunar Landing


foot print on lunar surface
the LM ladder with plaque
LM leg on lunar surface

We had very little trouble, much less trouble than expected on the surface. It was a pleasant operation. Temperatures weren't high. They were very comfortable. The little EMU, the combination of spacesuit and back pack that provided or sustained our life on the surface, operated magnificently, We had no cause for concern at any time with the operation of that equipment. The primary difficulty that we observed was that there was just far too little time to do the variety of things that we would have liked to have done. In earlier pictures, you saw rocks and the boulder field out Buzz's window that were 3 and 4 feet in size -- very likely pieces of the lunar bedrock. And it would have been very interesting to go over and get some samples of those, There were other craters that differed widely, that would have been interesting to examine and photograph. We had the problem of the five-year-old boy in a candy store. There are just too many interesting things to do. The surface as we said was fine-grained with lots of rock in it. It took footprints very well, and the footprints stayed in place. (Photo 17.) The LM was in good shape, and it exhibited no damage from the landing or the descent. Here is a picture of the ladder with the well-known plaque on the primary strut. (Photo 18.) There was a question as to whether the LM would sink in up to its knees. It didn't, as you can see. The footpads sunk in, perhaps, an inch or two. And the probe in this picture was folded over and sticks up through the sand in the bottom right-hand corner (Photo 19) showing that we were traveling slightly sidewise at touchdown. There was a wide variety of surfaces. Here Buzz is standing in a small crater (Photo 20), and gives a very good picture of the rounded rims of what we believe are very old features. The LM was in a relatively smooth area between the craters and the boulder field. (Photo 21.) And we had some difficulty in determining just what straight up and down was. Our ability to pick out straight up and down was probably several degrees less accurate than it is here on Earth. And it caused some difficulty in having things like our cameras and scientific experiments maintain the level attitude we expected.

Buzz standing in a small crater
Lunar Module

The two experiments that you saw in the previous picture were deployed in the Scientific Equipment Bay. We found that getting them down produced no significant problem. And here you see a view of my carrying these two experiments out to the deployment site (Photo 22), about 70 feet south of the lunar module. You have a very good view of the varying depths of the upper surface layer. You see that along the crater rim -- a small crater rim off to my left -- along this, the upper surface appears to be about 2 to 3 inches. The subsurface has a slope that is rather ill-defined, and one has to be very careful in treading around these small 12 craters. Any long excursions, I feel, would take a good bit of attention in moving along to avoid walking along or down the slope of some of these smaller craters. This is the Passive Seismic Experiment (Photo 23) that was deployed and has been giving us good returns on the interactions of the Moon. We had a little difficulty deploying one of the panels. I had to move around to the far side and release the restraining lever, and then the second panel came out. We had a little bit of difficulty determining, as Neil said, the exact local horizontal, and I think this is due to the decrease in the cues, that a person has as to which way up really is. One has to lean a little bit more off to the side before you get this body cue that your approaching off-balance, and of course the surface varied considerably in this area. This second experiment is the Laser Reflector. (Photo 24.)

Aldrin carrying two experiments
the Passive Seismic Experiment

We've been successful in bouncing Laser beams off this, from its hundred arrays of reflectors. The other experiment, the Solar Wind Experiment (Photo 25), you can see, was deployed quite early in the flight and was rolled up, just one of the last things before I reentered the LM. In this picture, you see me driving the core tube into the surface. (Photo 26.) We collected two different core tube samples. It was quite surprising, the resistance that was met in this subsurface medium, and at the same time, you see that it did not support very well the core tube as I was driving it into the surface.

Laser Reflector
the Solar Wind Experiment
Aldrin driving the core tube into the surface

Previous Table of Contents Next